500,000-signature petition calls for probe of Afghan hospital bombing

500,000-signature petition calls for probe of Afghan hospital bombing

More than 547,000 people signed a petition that Doctors Without Borders delivered to the White House on Wednesday, calling for an independent investigation into the U.S. bombing of one of its hospitals in Afghanistan.

“We need an independent investigation to establish the facts through the lens of international humanitarian law, which protects medical facilities, staff and patients,” Jason Cone, the organization’s executive director, said in prepared remarks. “To date, we have not received any official response from the Obama administration on our request for an independent investigation. So, we are again calling on President Obama to consent to the fact-finding commission.”


The call comes two weeks after the Pentagon summarized the findings of its own investigation that found the bombing was primarily the result of human error.

On Oct. 3, U.S. forces carried out an airstrike intended for a government building believed to be controlled by the Taliban, Army Gen. John CampbellJohn Bayard Taylor CampbellBritish authorities rule fatal stabbings an act of terror Trump courts new controversy with travel ban expansion High stakes in Nigeria's elections for impoverished citizenry — and US interests MORE has said. But the electronic systems on the aircraft malfunctioned, and the crew relied on a description of the target, which the hospital building “roughly matched,” Campbell said.

The bombing killed at least 30 people.

Multiple military officials have been suspended, pending further investigation.

When announcing the results of the investigation, Campbell pledged it was “thorough and unbiased.”

Cone commended Campbell for outlining the technical failures and human errors that led to the bombing, as well as Obama for personally apologizing to Doctors Without Borders’ international president after the strike.

But Cone reiterated his organization’s desire to have the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission investigate, which would require the permission of both the U.S. and Afghanistan. Kabul has also not given its OK.

“The full military report, along with a separate NATO investigation, has not been made public,” he said. “We cannot rely solely on the parties involved in the conflict to carry out an independent and impartial examination of an attack in which they are implicated. Perpetrators cannot also be judges.”